I am a financial accountant and will never forget the time I was sitting in one of my final classes before finishing my Master’s Degree. I was talking to a tax accountant who was also finishing her degree and she confided in me that she could not understand why anyone would work toward an accounting degree and sit for the CPA exam if they were not going to do tax.
Well I have to say that, while I do some income tax out of necessity, that is just a tiny piece of what I do. My true passion is overall business functionality and helping to increase margin, improve cash flow, and decrease administrative costs.
One of the biggest challenges for businesses is creating accounting processes and most businesses cobble together what works over time, often through trial and error. Many businesses start with QuickBooks or Peachtree accounting software. These are great packages, but do little toward helping with operations. So, business owners find companion software through Google or trade associations. Oftentimes, a QuickBooks Pro like myself can help find something that integrates nicely.
Even when finding a software solution that works, there will still be struggles. Sales tax is one such issue. If a business only has presence in one state or doesn’t have a complicated service or product, their accounting software can usually take care of the problem. If not, there are online services that may help, but not always. So, I caution trusting these services and advise clients to test some transactions before relying on them. If they don’t work, a completely customized method of calculating and processing sales tax is necessary. This is the case when a business works in Texas, or some other state where the tax on one corner in a city or county is a rate and the business across the street in the same county is something else due to differing school zones or fire station districts. In this case, rates must be looked up one by one and the taxes should be filed according to district. This creates a sales tax procedural nightmare that must be monitored on a daily basis.
Another item that can cause procedural issues is withholding tax. Indiana is unique in that employers are to withhold tax from the employee for where they live. Other states require employers to withhold tax for where an employee works. Imagine a service firm that has employees traveling to different cities and counties each day or maybe several stops per day. In this case, employers must withhold and remit a percentage of each employee’s pay for each locality that they worked during the pay period. Tracking the tax liability on this is another difficult task that many software packages simply aren’t able to do. So again, an offline procedure becomes necessary.
Besides sales, payroll, and other taxes, businesses must devise methods for invoicing, collecting from customers, paying their bills, appointment scheduling, creating their product, running payroll, monitoring employee performance, as well as a myriad of other issues. So, while income tax is very important, there are many, many other areas where procedural creation and improvement are imperative. This is where I’ve focused my business and worked to improve my skills.
It truly is a passion of mine to help small businesses run like finely tuned machines. There are always new ways to save time and improve profitability. So, this is where I focus the majority of my time.
Where is your passion?